Youth Vaccination Story- Soane Tavite

Moana Research and the Immunisations Advisory Centre have been working together with Virologist Dr Natalie Netzler and Immunologist Chris Puli’uvea (PhD candidate) to deliver zoom fonos to provide our Pacific communities with clear information about the COVID-19 virus and vaccinations. In a bid to help break down the science through a combined presentation following a question-and-answer session, the fonos have so far engaged Pacific families during one focused on youth and another one for pregnant mothers. Below we share stories of those who made the decision to be vaccinated and what their experiences have been so far.


How old are you, what school do you attend and when did you get vaccinated?

My name is Soane Tavite and I am 13 years old. I am in year 9 at Dilworth School.  I’m Tongan and I am from the village of Houma, Tongatapu. I live with my grandparents, parents and my 3 sisters. I am Catholic, I am a member of St Bernadette Parish, Mt Wellington. I got my first vaccination shot on the 25th of August, my parents came with me to get their second dose on the same day.


Soane getting his vaccine with his Mum Si’ata and Dad Sunny

Why did you choose to get vaccinated?

My family and I had already talked about getting the vaccine prior to the announcement that ages 12 and up could get the vaccine.  I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to get the vaccine but after talking to my Grandpa and him answering my questions, I was convinced that it was going to be ok. My Grandparents are both over 70 years old and are fully vaccinated, my parents are also fully vaccinated. My sisters are not old enough to get vaccinated so by getting fully vaccinated I am keeping them safe too.



Soane with his grandpa Sitaleki, his trusted advisor

Did you have any concerns and how did you address them?

At first I was concerned that the vaccine didn’t work and I wasn’t sure that it would help me. But I addressed them by talking to my Grandpa and he reassured me that the vaccine was going to help me and keep me and my family safe. I was nervous when I went in for my first shot but the nurse, Mele, was very good, it didn’t hurt much. After each shot my arm hurt the day after but I did not have any other side-effects.




What message do you have for other youth around vaccinations?

It’s normal to be worried but talk to someone you trust and talk about what you are worried about. There is so much information out there, good and bad, real and fake. We need to be careful about what we read on the internet. If you have questions about vaccination talk to someone you trust like your parents or your doctor or your teachers. Getting vaccinated is one way we can all help to get back to school, back to sports and back to our friends.


We are grateful to Soane for sharing his story. If you or a student you know would like to know about accessing the vaccine, you can find more information here (many community clinics do not require an appointment).



COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccination


English (11 mins)

COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccination


English (3 mins)

COVID-19 – Talanoa presentation


Tongan (10 mins)

COVID-19 – Ngaahi fehu’i mo e tali


Tongan (13 mins)